ALPR technology is just one additional tool in the department’s layered approach to supporting campus safety
Monday, April 3, 2023

The UI Police Department is expanding the use of camera technology on campus to strengthen its crime prevention efforts and enhance its ability to locate people who may be in danger.

The department is in the process of installing 28 automated license plate reading (ALPR) cameras, which will send an alert to law enforcement when a stolen car or a car associated with a known wanted suspect from a state or national crime database is detected. The cameras also alert police if a vehicle associated with a missing person in an AMBER Alert or Silver Alert passes a safety camera.

“Keeping our campus open and accessible is critical to our mission of teaching, research, and public service, but we cannot be everywhere at once,” says Mark Bullock, assistant vice president for Campus Safety. “These cameras provide our police officers with another resource to solve and prevent crimes that occur on campus, while still maintaining the privacy, safety, and security of all who call our university home.”

The technology is just one additional tool in the department’s layered approach to supporting campus safety, which includes proactive community policing, safety training programs, threat assessment, and expanding campus resources for mental health support, crisis intervention, and follow-up.

This emerging technology is being used by several law enforcement agencies across the state of Iowa and also by Big Ten peers including the University of Illinois, Purdue University, and others.

UI Police have established clear guidelines for the use of the technology, as well as data collection, retention, and sharing to enhance the safety of the campus community while respecting and protecting the privacy of all who use public roadways.

ALPRs help law enforcement across the country solve crime by providing the objective evidence needed for investigations. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, seven in 10 crimes are committed with a vehicle.

The ALPRs capture an image of a license plate and do not capture images of people, or data related to traffic offenses. The use of this technology on campus will be strictly limited to law enforcement for investigating and preventing crimes on campus and locating missing/endangered people.

The ALPRs will not be used by UI Police to enforce or monitor traffic offenses or collect revenue. Images of license plates and vehicle characteristics are deleted after 30 days for privacy and security purposes.

To learn more, see the ALPR information page.